Boy, am I tired of rain. It seems to never end. Maybe tomorrow we will get a day with some light. But if not, here are some things I do to deal with the gray.
You can paint in oil in some mist, or even very light rain, particularly if you have an umbrella. There even used to be an artist who painted underwater, he did pictures of tropical fish.
In practice though, when the rain begins you usually have a short window of time to finish and clear out.
When I am at home, I work in the studio on rainy days. However if I am on a painting trip I generally will try to work outside. Here's some things I do to make that work.
- I try to find somewhere to get out of the rain, a covered picnic shelter, under a shops' awning, in a barn looking out the open door, in a gazebo in a town common (that's New England) etc. Sometimes you get lucky and there is something good to paint there.Those covered picnic shelters are often good as they are in parks.
- If I can, I like to choose a colorful subject, like a brightly painted house or any thing else I can find to get a little more color in my painting. Bright white houses can be good too. Gardens are nice.
- Bring an umbrella to affix to your easel, over your painting and palette.
- Often pure nature is not so good. Woods and closed in places can be DARKER THAN THE INSIDE OF A COW.
- Take the black off your palette unless you can be certain to use it sparingly. Make the grays you see out of mixtures of various compliments and try to vary the warms and cools of your notes. Look to extract every bit of color you can. State those subtle colors in your grays a little more intensely than you see them, if you can do that with out getting an artificial look.
- Try to keep the key up.That is, paint a little lighter than what you see . Keep the light warm or blue or what ever but not gray. The picture will have plenty of gray in it without making the light gray.
- Use a wholly chromatic palette to make your grays and keep them colorful. Or sometimes I do just the opposite and...
- switch to earth colors on gray days. It works for me sometimes, here is one of those.
- try to stay optimistic and think about painting the subtleties in front of you.
- Think in terms of layers of silhouettes.
- try to avoid making grays with black and white or ultramarine and burnt sienna. Make luminous grays even if what is in front of you looks "deader" than that.
- look for abstract patterns in nature, you may not have a lot of color or depth to work with but you will often have pattern.
- Put butter in your shoes.